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'[PIC]El Cheapo PIC Programmer'
2004\12\12@151939 by Nathan Thomsen

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Hello,

 What's everyone's opinion on Myke Predko's el cheapo PIC programmer or
other low cost programmers?

Also has anyone had this weird experience or something like it?  I built
the programmer with the book PCB according to the instructions on
http://www.myke.com/elcheapo.htm.  My programmer worked fine until I
moved it to my other computer.  The programmer then still worked but it
would take several tries to program correctly.  Now it doesn't program
at all.  I have tried several different PICs and the programming still
fails every time.  I have tested the diodes, power circuits, and the
2N3906.  I think it now must be the MOSFET but the tests using Myke's
software have passed.  I did have to change R2 to a 560 ohm resistor to
keep the data line voltages right, but they still seem strange (4.5V =
High .8V= Low)

Overall I think the programmer is decent but unreliable and the software
has not been updated for the most recent pics.  There is some other
software that might work with it and allow you to program more pics, but
I haven't experimented with that yet.

Nathan Thomsen



____________________________________________

2004\12\12@164647 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Nathan Thomsen wrote:
> or other low cost programmers?

My answer is the EasyProg, http://www.embedinc.com/easyprog.  Of course I
may be just a tad biased ;-)


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\12\12@185731 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Nathan Thomsen" <spam_OUTntrockymtnTakeThisOuTspamviafamily.com>
Subject: [PIC]El Cheapo PIC Programmer


>   What's everyone's opinion on Myke Predko's el cheapo PIC programmer or
> other low cost programmers?

Nathan

I have no direct experience with Mike's, but based on other cheap
programmers I see no reason it shouldn't work.
>
> My programmer worked fine until I
> moved it to my other computer.  The programmer then still worked but it
> would take several tries to program correctly.

Some PC's have really low voltages on their ports.  Could be that you are
right on the edge of having enough voltage to flip those gates.  The other
thing I would look at is the timing.  If it was intermittent, could be some
of the timing is a little too short.  Chances are your new PC is faster than
the old, and even in cases where you can supposedly set the time, you are
going to get a little less benefit from the errors.

> keep the data line voltages right, but they still seem strange (4.5V =
> High .8V= Low)

Doesn't sound do bad.

> Overall I think the programmer is decent but unreliable and the software
> has not been updated for the most recent pics.

FPP works with many designs and allows you good control over the timing.
Downside is that you can't add additional programmers, and it only does a
few PICs.  WinPic allows you to do most PICs, and has a configuration file
that can be tailored for most programmers.  Downside is that you have to be
logged on as an administrator to use it.

--McD


____________________________________________

2004\12\12@202354 by Jose Da Silva

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On Sunday 12 December 2004 12:19 pm, Nathan Thomsen wrote:
> Hello,
>
>   What's everyone's opinion on Myke Predko's el cheapo PIC programmer or
> other low cost programmers?
>
> Also has anyone had this weird experience or something like it?  I built
> the programmer with the book PCB according to the instructions on
> http://www.myke.com/elcheapo.htm.

The problem you are likely running into is timing issues.
If you were running a single task such as a DOS program on a DOS operating
system, you would be okay, and in this regard.
I would recommend that if you are going to continue using your parallel port
for programming, you either boot-up in DOS mode or make yourself a DOS
bootdisk so that you run DOS when programming with such a programmer.

If you are relying on timing on a multitasking operating system, then you are
going to have problems since timing is not going to be very reliable since
the time slices are to coarse to be reliable for good timing. It's the
nature of the beast regardless of if you are running windows, os/2, linux or
any other desktop multitasking operating system.

You are better off using your current programmer to write to a PIC that you
can THEN use that PIC in a serial COMport type programmer.
If you use the serial port, then the timing is based on hardware and not on
desktop OS timing.
____________________________________________

2004\12\13@034110 by Nate Duehr

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John J. McDonough wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Nathan Thomsen" <.....ntrockymtnKILLspamspam@spam@viafamily.com>
> Subject: [PIC]El Cheapo PIC Programmer
>
>
>
>>  What's everyone's opinion on Myke Predko's el cheapo PIC programmer or
>>other low cost programmers?
>
>
> Nathan
>
> I have no direct experience with Mike's, but based on other cheap
> programmers I see no reason it shouldn't work.

I have direct experience with Myke's and never really had it working
properly, even after modifications.

I bought a better-designed programmer and have been happy ever-after.

From following along on Myke's website, the programming software has
been problematic for a lot of people on later versions of Windows, also.

Being that the book is getting a little long in the tooth, I'd recommend
learning what you can from it about the 16F's, and then take the advice
of many on this list and move on to the 18F's.

Consider it a good (if dated) introduction to PIC's, and then move on.
And buy/build a different programmer.

Also build/design for ICSP (In-Circuit Serial Programming) right from
the start and get away from pulling the chip out and sticking it in a
programmer to program it.  That way lies madness.  ;-)

Nate
____________________________________________

2004\12\13@074059 by Howard Winter

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On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 01:15:52 -0700, Nate Duehr wrote:

>...<
> I have direct experience with Myke's and never really had it working
> properly, even after modifications.

Me too - except that I never actually took a soldering-iron to it...

> I bought a better-designed programmer and have been happy ever-after.

Me too!  Several, actually...

>  From following along on Myke's website, the programming software has
> been problematic for a lot of people on later versions of Windows, also.

I could never get the software installed under Windows 2000 (which isn't particularly "late" :-) and since the build instructions are said to be in there, I decided that there was no point in building it only to find I couldn't use it - I could put it together easily enough but the testing-and-voltage-setup aren't something I wanted to re-invent.  I decided my time was better spent building a programmer that (a) would work, (b) was more versatile, (c) handled ICSP, and (d) was supported!  I tried to contact Myke to see if the software-install problem had been solved, and never had any reply.

> Being that the book is getting a little long in the tooth, I'd recommend
> learning what you can from it about the 16F's, and then take the advice
> of many on this list and move on to the 18F's.

Perhaps, but I think the smaller chips still have a place - the newer 8- and 14-pin ones (12F629, 675 and 683, 16F630, 684 and 688) are very useful when you need something small.  I think it's useful to have 16F programming skills first then add on the 18F's, so that you don't have to "un-learn" the extras when the project doesn't have space for an 18-pin chip.  But let's not start that argument again!  :-)

> Consider it a good (if dated) introduction to PIC's, and then move on.
> And buy/build a different programmer.

Yes, I'd say either Wouter's Wisp628 or Olin's Easyprog - both are versatile enough to be useful for years to come.  For a beginner I think Wisp628 has the edge, because it's available as a complete kit, and as long as you have a solderless breadboard as well, just as easy to use.  Easyprog's advantage for a beginner is the built-in ZIF socket, it's disadvantage is the use of some less-easily-obtained parts which you have to source yourself, including needing to program its PIC, a problem if this is one's first programmer!

(I wonder if there'd be any demand for a kit of "the awkward bits" for Easyprog - the E96 resistors, the Aries ZIF socket and the programmed PIC?  I'd do this if I could find a feasible way to get the ZIFs from the USA - they are more than twice the price here, especially with the current US$:UK£ rate.)

> Also build/design for ICSP (In-Circuit Serial Programming) right from
> the start and get away from pulling the chip out and sticking it in a
> programmer to program it.  That way lies madness.  ;-)

Yup!  Although if you are doing a "production" run, or the project doesn't have ISCP for some reason, out-of-circuit programming is useful.  And both of the above give both options (assuming the solderless breadboard I mentioned).

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England



___________________________________________

2004\12\13@083629 by Charles Rogers

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>
> My answer is the EasyProg, http://www.embedinc.com/easyprog.  Of course I
> may be just a tad biased ;-)
>
>
> *****************************************************************
> Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
> (978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

Olin:

I would like to buy the EasyProg but I prefer to use a cashier's check as
opposed giving out my bank card number over the internet.  Is that
possible.

CR

____________________________________________

2004\12\13@085924 by Dave Lag

picon face

Speaking of which, What was the end result of the Jan-Eric/3M zif clone saga?
D

Howard Winter wrote:

> (I wonder if there'd be any demand for a kit of "the awkward bits" for Easyprog - the E96 resistors, the Aries
> ZIF socket and the programmed PIC?  I'd do this if I could find a feasible way to get the ZIFs from the USA -
> they are more than twice the price here, especially with the current US$:UK£ rate.)
............
> Cheers,
>
>
> Howard Winter
> St.Albans, England
___________________________________________

2004\12\13@095757 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Howard Winter wrote:
> (I wonder if there'd be any demand for a kit of "the awkward bits" for
> Easyprog - the E96 resistors, the Aries
> ZIF socket and the programmed PIC?  I'd do this if I could find a
> feasible way to get the ZIFs from the USA -
> they are more than twice the price here, especially with the current
> US$:UK£ rate.)

I'm actually considering a complete kit.  The "awkward" parts are most of
the cost, so adding the rest shouldn't raise the price much and add a lot of
convenience.  The ZIF socket and PIC alone account for over half the parts
cost.

I'm having a production run of ProProgs made right now.  This is the first
time I'm using a local company to put together the kit for the
manufacturers.  Once I see how that goes, I'm considering having them put
together kits for the EasyProg and then I'll sell them at a small markup.
The only thing that may break this is that the end sell price will need to
be higher than hobbyists are willing to pay.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
___________________________________________

2004\12\13@100642 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Charles Rogers wrote:
> I would like to buy the EasyProg but I prefer to use a cashier's check
> as opposed giving out my bank card number over the internet.  Is that
> possible.

Yes.  Send a check made out to "Embed Inc" for the amount listed on the web
page, including the shipping and handling charge, to:

 EasyProg
 Embed Inc
 410 Great Road
 Littleton, MA  01460

Make sure to include the ship-to address, and an email address if you want
notification of shipment.

The check must be in US dollars and drawn on a US bank or we won't accept it
because the fees would exceed the value.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\12\13@102239 by Howard Winter

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flavicon
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Dave,

On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 09:05:05 -0500, Dave Lag wrote:

> Speaking of which, What was the end result of the Jan-Eric/3M zif clone saga?

I don't know if Jan-Erik had any success, but all my efforts have ended up with the fact that the Aries ZIF socket fits Olin's board, nothing else does.  The 3M (/clone) sockets won't even fit into an ordinary IC socket so piggybacking isn't an option either.  
For those US-based, Jameco has the Aries for about US$12, for us Brits Rapid Electronics has them for UK£11 plus VAT (about $23.50 at the current exchange rate).  Perhaps I should have brought a load of them back with me on my recent transatlantic trip?!

We're rather better off with the "odd" resistor values: Maplin sells them individually, whereas Jameco sells them by the hundred.  I really don't have a need for 99x 6R8 resistors... unless I start selling kits for Easyprog builders! :-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England



___________________________________________

2004\12\13@105539 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Howard Winter wrote :

> On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 09:05:05 -0500, Dave Lag wrote:
>
> > Speaking of which, What was the end result of the
> > Jan-Eric/3M zif clone saga?
>
> I don't know if Jan-Erik had any success,...

The jury is still out on that :-)
Actualy, when I saw Dave's question above, I called our
local Swedish office again. They have promised to call me
back later today. I do know that the case have been at the
"legal dept." at the 3M HQ in the US during this fall.

Anyway, I'll let you know whenever I get a message from 3M.

> For those US-based, Jameco has the Aries for about US$12, for
> us Brits Rapid Electronics has them for UK£11
> plus VAT (about $23.50 at the current exchange rate).  
I got one from eBay for $4.95 + $8.15 ship or a total of $13.10.
No to bad. And it's a *real* Aries :-)

> We're rather better off with the "odd" resistor values:
> Maplin sells them individually, whereas Jameco sells
> them by the hundred.  I really don't have a need for 99x 6R8
> resistors... unless I start selling kits for
> Easyprog builders! :-)

Pesonaly, I don't think the EasyProg will "take off" if there isn't
kits made available. It's just to much trouble sourcing everything
for a single unit.

A few weeks ago I was at a site with a batch of surplus 1% 1/4 W
metalfilm resistors, most of the E96 values. I was thinking of looking
for matching values for the Easyprog. But they wanted me to
take the whole batch. Most values was a couple of 1000's, some values
was over 150.000 pc... That's quite a lot of EasyProg's ! :-) :-)

Jan-Erik.




___________________________________________

2004\12\13@115803 by Howard Winter

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Jan-Erik,

On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 16:55:38 +0100 (MET), Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:

>...<
>
> I do know that the case have been at the "legal dept." at the 3M HQ in the US during this fall.
>
> Anyway, I'll let you know whenever I get a message from 3M.

I await developments with interest!  :-)

ZIF socket:

> I got one from eBay for $4.95 + $8.15 ship or a total of $13.10.
> No to bad. And it's a *real* Aries :-)

Go on, rub it in!  I bought mine from Jameco some time ago, so I don't care (for myself) any more! :-p

> Pesonaly, I don't think the EasyProg will "take off" if there isn't
> kits made available. It's just to much trouble sourcing everything
> for a single unit.

You could be right, and I was thinking of helping out there - but obviously no point if Olin does it himself.

> A few weeks ago I was at a site with a batch of surplus 1% 1/4 W
> metalfilm resistors, most of the E96 values. I was thinking of looking
> for matching values for the Easyprog. But they wanted me to
> take the whole batch. Most values was a couple of 1000's, some values
> was over 150.000 pc... That's quite a lot of EasyProg's ! :-) :-)

Indeed!  How much did they want for the lot?

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


____________________________________________

2004\12\13@130211 by Hopkins

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I'm actually considering a complete kit.  The "awkward" parts are most
of
the cost, so adding the rest shouldn't raise the price much and add a
lot of
convenience.  The ZIF socket and PIC alone account for over half the
parts
cost.

I'm having a production run of ProProgs made right now.  This is the
first
time I'm using a local company to put together the kit for the
manufacturers.  Once I see how that goes, I'm considering having them
put
together kits for the EasyProg and then I'll sell them at a small
markup.
The only thing that may break this is that the end sell price will need
to
be higher than hobbyists are willing to pay.
_______________________________________

Can you come up with an estimate of a full kit cost?

Just a kit of parts would be suitable for me as apposed to a fully
assembled unit.

Then you could carry out a quick survey of piclist members to see if
they would have or may still want a programmer at that cost - may need
to change tag to [AD] though :-)


_______________________________________
Roy
Tauranga
New Zealand
_______________________________________


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____________________________________________

2004\12\13@131347 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Howard Winter wrote :

> > Anyway, I'll let you know whenever I get a message from 3M.
>
> I await developments with interest!  :-)

Nothing so far (aprox 19:00), so nothing today I'd guess...


> > A few weeks ago I was at a site with a batch of surplus 1% 1/4 W
> > metalfilm resistors, most of the E96 values. I was thinking
> > of looking
> > for matching values for the Easyprog. But they wanted me to
> > take the whole batch. Most values was a couple of 1000's,
> > some values
> > was over 150.000 pc... That's quite a lot of EasyProg's ! :-) :-)
>
> Indeed!  How much did they want for the lot?

We never got that far. Actualy they havn't real got to the "electronics
componets" yet. I've primerily been buying some LCD/button/LED
modules (see "http://www.st-anna-data.se/front_panel.html") and
some bare 16x2 STN LCD displays (SHARP LM16A211, if someone
would be interested... Hm, maybe I'd make an [AD] post also :-) ).

Anyway, from what I have payed for other stuff, I'd guess
somewhere around 5% of the retail price. But, the real problem
is that there are over 1.500.000 resistors, and I've noware to
store them... :-)

Jan-Erik.



____________________________________________

2004\12\13@133312 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Howard Winter wrote:
> Well I just ran through it, using Jameco, Glitchbuster, and a UK
> supplier (as appropriate) and I make the total cost (including your PCB
> at $13.95) to be about US$37.50, excluding taxes, postage, with no
> mark-up and ignoring minimum quantities (the stick-on feet, for
> example, are sold by the hundred!).
>
> That's for the populated PCB with a *blank* PIC - the cable and
> wall-wart aren't included.  Adding the latter two makes it about US$44.
> I've used the MOQ prices for these - bulk buying would reduce it
> somewhat.
>
> Wouter's Wisp628 kit is US$23.30, admittedly for a much less
> sophisticated device, but you know what hobbyists are like!

Yes, I totally misjudged two things.  First, I had no idea how difficult and
expensive it is to get parts from Jameco outside the US.  They are certainly
cheap and easy here.  Second, I assumed that anyone that was enough of a
hobbyist to want to build a PIC programmer would either have most of the
jellybean parts around or wouldn't mind buying more to add to the
collection.

Now that I see how things are going, I'm serious about offering a complete
kit once I get the first production run of ProProgs off my plate.

> Were you planning to program the PICs?

Yes, a programmed 16F648A would be part of the kit.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\12\13@134846 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Howard Winter wrote:
>> Pesonaly, I don't think the EasyProg will "take off" if there isn't
>> kits made available. It's just to much trouble sourcing everything
>> for a single unit.
>
> You could be right, and I was thinking of helping out there - but
> obviously no point if Olin does it himself.

If someone had jumped in by now and offered a kit, I might not bother.  I
agree with Jan-Erik's assesment that a kit is required if the EasyProg is
ever to become widespread.  In the overall scheme of things, it makes sense
for me to do it.  I'll probably offer a complete kit only.  If others are
interested in offering partial kits, want to serve specific geographics
areas, etc, let me know and we can probably work something out.  For
example, if someone wanted to buy 10 or more boards at a time the price
would be lower, and probably lower again at 25.

I'm not really trying to make money on the EasyProg.  It is more for a
service to hobbyists, for general recognition in the PIC community, and to
get more awareness of the ProProg (which is a for-profit product).  That's
why everything is open and I don't mind at all people taking the EasyProg
firmware and making it run on other programmers.  Given all that, I don't
see others selling kits as competition.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\12\13@151951 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Hopkins wrote:
> Can you come up with an estimate of a full kit cost?

Not yet.  I need to get some other stuff done first, then get a quote on
kits.

> Then you could carry out a quick survey of piclist members to see if
> they would have or may still want a programmer at that cost - may need
> to change tag to [AD] though :-)

I'll probably offer the kit anyway, at whatever price I need to cover my
cost plus a little.  I will announce on AD when I've got this option
available.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\12\14@172544 by Nathan Thomsen

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face
I tested the El Cheapo on my old PC and it works.  Could be I cooked my
parallel port.  I am thinking of just giving up on it and trying a new
programmer.  Does anybody have any suggestions?  I need a programmer
that can:
       Program 16F877A and 16F84A
       It must be cheap (real cheap)
       Have well supported software
       Reliable
       If it has a PIC it should be common and programmable with the
El-          Cheapo

Is there any programmer around that has all this?  Has anyone tried the
new homebuilt version of the el cheapo?  That one is dirt cheap and it
could be reliable since its data lines are buffered.  I checked out the
easyprog.  It looks nice but cannot currently program the 16F877A and
I'm not sure if I can program the 16F648 with my programmer.  I'm
leaning toward the Wisp628, especially since it works with ICSP (that
was one of my complaints with the el cheapo.  I do have one question:
is there any substitute for the 1N4143 diodes?  Jameco does not carry
any.
Thanks,
Nathan Thomsen

John McDonough Wrote:
 Some PC's have really low voltages on their ports.  Could be that you
are
 right on the edge of having enough voltage to flip those gates.  The
other
 thing I would look at is the timing.  If it was intermittent, could be
some
 of the timing is a little too short.  Chances are your new PC is
faster   than
 the old, and even in cases where you can supposedly set the time, you
are
 going to get a little less benefit from the errors.

 > keep the data line voltages right, but they still seem strange (4.5V
=
 > High .8V= Low)

 Doesn't sound do bad.

 > Overall I think the programmer is decent but unreliable and the
software
 > has not been updated for the most recent pics.

 FPP works with many designs and allows you good control over the
timing.
 Downside is that you can't add additional programmers, and it only
does a
 few PICs.  WinPic allows you to do most PICs, and has a configuration
file
 that can be tailored for most programmers.  Downside is that you have
to  be
 logged on as an administrator to use it.

   --McD




____________________________________________

2004\12\14@180057 by John J. McDonough

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Nathan

I've been having some thoughts about that.  I'm thinking of breaking down
and buying a Wisp628, even though I have two programmers that work just
fine.  The Wisp looks like a good one, and it is the type that has an
onboard PIC.  The downside of this, of course, is that the programming
software is very specific to the hardware.  The upside is that you are freed
from the issues of ports on computers these days, especially laptops.  In a
pinch you can add a USB to serial converter and you are in business.  (In
general, a USB to serial converter doesn't work with serial PIC
programmers.)  Olin's programmer may be a good bet, too, but I just haven't
looked at it.

I built a Covington programmer years ago, and it still works fine.  They
don't get much cheaper than that.  It works with most of the generic
software.  Pretty stale design.

The programmer portion of the PIC-EL is the classic Tait SERPIC design.
Again, supported by most of the generic software.

Either of these can be built for less than $15 in parts even if your junk
box is barren.  With even a modest parts drawer either of these should come
close to free.  OK, you don't get a fancy printed circuit board for free,
but so what.  This isn't a complicated enough circuit that it matters.

If I were you, I would load up FPP or something like it that has some decent
diagnostics, get out my meter, and figure out what it happening on the port.
That has to be the first step unless you are going to jump right to a USB
programmer.

--McD


{Original Message removed}

2004\12\14@180204 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I'm
> leaning toward the Wisp628, especially since it works with ICSP (that
> was one of my complaints with the el cheapo.  I do have one question:
> is there any substitute for the 1N4143 diodes?  Jameco does not carry
> any.

If you mean for use in a Wisp628: that should be 1N4148, or any other
yelleybean Si diode.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\12\15@033037 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Nathan Thomsen wrote :

> I am thinking of just giving up on it and trying a new
> programmer.  Does anybody have any suggestions?
> I need a programmer that can:
>        Program 16F877A and 16F84A
>        It must be cheap (real cheap)

Hi !
"Cheap" is a rather rellative term. :-)
What exactly does it mean to *you * ? (quantified in real $'s)
And is your own time "cheap" too ? Generaly speaking,
you have to "pay" for a "cheap" tools with your own time...

>        Have well supported software
>        Reliable
>        If it has a PIC it should be common and programmable
>              with the El-Cheapo

Why ? (See below).

> I'm leaning toward the Wisp628,...  I do have one question:
> is there any substitute for the 1N4143 diodes?

They are 1N4148's. Any low power "switching silicon diod" would
probably work.

Buy why bother, just take the kit. It also includes a programmed
PIC with the firmware, so you don't have to use another
programmer to "bootstrap" your Wisp628. And you can easily keep
a second "backup" PIC around in the case the one on the Wisp628
gets fried for any reason... And a professional looking PCB.
Add a USB->Serial cable/converter and you'll be
up-n-running on just about any PC model.

*My* general tip is to get something that works out-of-the-box (no
matter if it's the Wisp628 or something else), and move on to
your *real* projects. It's just not worth it beeing stuck in
tool-troubles...

Best Regards,
Jan-Erik.



____________________________________________

2004\12\15@082808 by John J. McDonough

flavicon
face
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jan-Erik Soderholm" <jan-erik.soderholmspamKILLspamtelia.com>
Subject: RE: [PIC]El Cheapo PIC Programmer


> *My* general tip is to get something that works out-of-the-box (no
> matter if it's the Wisp628 or something else), and move on to
> your *real* projects. It's just not worth it beeing stuck in
> tool-troubles...

I'm not so sure I agree with that 100%.  It depends a lot on the individual.
Especially for hobbyists.

I see a huge advantage to rolling your own -- confidence.  Not everyone has
been through making hundreds of circuits work.  Most hobbyists have done a
few, at best.  There are a LOT of people making their first foray into
melting solder.

For *some* of them, there is a lot to be gained by going through the
struggles of making something work.  Not only in what it learned
technically, but what is learned about their own capability.  In some ways,
the more of a pain it is getting the thing to work, the better!

You have seen plenty of folks who can't get over the hump of moving to ICSP,
for example.  (In this, the Wisp628 is a GREAT thing).  The advantages are
huge, but to a lot of hobbyists, it's just too hard, too complicated, for
professionals only, whatever the excuse.  But if you can roll your own
programmer, there is some chance that you will notice that it doesn't have
to be all that hard.

Ditto with moving on the the next PIC.  Lots of folks got a 16F84 programmer
years ago, and have stuck to the 84 partly because they believe that
programming anything else is going to be "hard".  No matter what you or Olin
or I say, they are going to believe that until they finally roll up their
sleeves and try it.  The more confidence they build in doing things
themselves, the sooner that day will come.

And lets face it, building a programmer isn't that big of a deal.  Once you
read the app note, pretty much anyone with the barest knowledge of
electronics can design one of the things.  Of course, the folks that NEED to
design their own are exactly the folks who will be afraid to.  But with
hundreds of simple designs out on the net, it's pretty easy for someone to
go halfway and replicate someone else's circuit.

All that being said, there is still a lot of merit in getting a programmer
that works and getting on with it.  Even getting a Wisp shipped from the
Netherlands it still turns out pretty cheap.

--McD


____________________________________________

2004\12\15@093023 by Rolf

face picon face
As a newbie, I'll throw in $0.02. I started by purchasing Myke Predko's
book. I thought the combination of the included PCB, CD, and the book
itself would be a good investment. Well, the book and CD (well, the code
examples) are really good, but I skipped building the El-Cheapo.

Instead, I went to the 'local' electronics store here in down-town
Toronto, and picked up a $10 (canadian) logic probe kit, and the
DIYKit128 USB ICSP and ZIFF socket option. as a partial Kit (all SM
components pre-mounted). This kit was $50 IIRC, + $12 for the Ziff (3M).
Then also some solder, a soldering iron, etc.

I tackled the logic probe first, followed by the Kit, and then tried
some of the experiments in the book. As I posted recently, getting a
Serial interface to the LCD has been my major learning curve though.
Struggled getting things to work. I can say that I have certainly gained
a lot in struggling through the LCD project, but I would probably have
given up if the hurdle had been building the programmer.

I would say that in my personal case, my biggest obstacle to getting "on
top of things", is the fact that I have no access to someone who can
physically have a look at my circuit/code, and give tips and pointers.
If only there were a "club" or something I could take my mess to for
someone to scrutinize and ctriticize. I drive past Celestica almost
every day, and I often wonder whether I should stop and see if I can
look up Myke Predko......

Rolf

John J. McDonough wrote:

>{Original Message removed}

2004\12\15@120546 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
> > *My* general tip is to get something that works out-of-the-box (no
> > matter if it's the Wisp628 or something else), and move on to
> > your *real* projects. It's just not worth it beeing stuck in
> > tool-troubles...
>
> I'm not so sure I agree with that 100%.  It depends a lot on
> the individual. Especially for hobbyists.
>
> For *some* of them, there is a lot to be gained by going through the
> struggles of making something work.
> Not only in what it learned technically, but what is learned
> about their own capability.  In some ways,
> the more of a pain it is getting the thing to work, the better!

Agree !
I just don't understand why that "something" have to be the *tools*.
After (maybe) a lot of problems, you end up with nothing but a
hammer anyway...

> And lets face it, building a programmer isn't that big of a
> deal...

Well, that's not the picture I've got from the list.
I might be wrong, of course...
:-)

Regards,
Jan-Erik.



____________________________________________

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